One long wait is over, the judges for the 2014 annual column contest of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists have selected finalists. Each contestant submitted three columns or blog posts that were published in calendar year 2013.
The actual third-, second- and first-place order will be announced after a somewhat briefer wait, for the Awards Banquet during the 2014 NSNC conference on Saturday, June 28, at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Finalists as well as honorable mentions are below, listed alphabetically. The six category judges could select one or more contestants, or none, for honorable mention. First place in each category will receive $300, second place $200 and third place $100, in addition to certificates suitable for framing. Honorable mentions receive certificates. All are enthusiastically invited to attend the conference.
Category A. General Interest, Over 50,000 Circulation
- Ken Dixon, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport
- Alfred P. Doblin, The Record, Bergen County, New Jersey
- James Haught, The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette
Judge — Mike Masterson is an award-winning independent correspondent and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and previously a reporter and editor at several major newpapers and a professor. In 2012 he received the NSNC’s Will Rogers Humanitarian Award.
Category B. Humor, Over 50,000 Circulation
- Greg Schwem, Tribune Content Agency
- Steve Young, The Philadelphia Inquirer
- Dan Zevin, The New York Times
Judge — Tom Walsh is a writer for the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, after decades as a reporter, editor and bureau chief for newspapers and magazines in Chicago, New York, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Iowa, as well as a college journalism professor.
Category C. General Interest, Under 50,000 Circulation
- Maryanne Reed, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, West Virginia
- Eve Samples, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, Florida
- Ginger Truitt, Lebanon (Indiana) Reporter
- John Breunig, The (Stamford) Advocate and Greenwich Time, Connecticut
- Judith Marks-White, Westport (Connecticut) News
- Kenneth Tingley, The Post Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. [city corrected]
Judge — John Carlson retired in 2009, after 31 years at the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, the last 11 as a columnist. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He has won some journalism awards but is most proud of covering the war in Iraq in 2003 and 2005.
Category D. Humor, Under 50,000 Circulation
- Laura Rafaty, The St. Helena (California) Star
- Cappy Hall Rearick, The Low Country Sun, Charleston, South Carolina
- Jerry Zezima, The Advocate, Stamford, Connecticut
Judge — Tom Walsh, writer for the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, after decades as a reporter, editor and bureau chief for newspapers and magazines in Chicago, New York, Dallas, Washington D.C., and Iowa, as well as a college journalism professor.
Category E. Online, Blog and Multimedia Columns, Over 100,000 Monthly Unique Visitors
Judge — Chad Lorenz is news editor of the online magazine Slate. He previously was a managing editor at The Washingtonian and a copy editor at The Washington Post.
Category F. Online, Blog and Multimedia Columns, Under 100,000 Monthly Unique Visitors
Judge — Veteran journalist Mae Israel is an independent journalist in Charlotte, N.C. She worked for nearly 20 years at The Washington Post, serving in various roles as an assistant metropolitan editor. She blogs about the Sandwich Generation at Juggling Act.
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Contest finalists and their guests are cordially requested, indeed encouraged, to attend NSNC’s 2014 conference, June 26-29 in Washington. They are eligible for $50 discounts on registration, which come to $299 for NSNC members, $249 guests and $349 for non-members. Contact Executive Director Luenna Kim via our online contact form to sign up for the contest finalist special rate. Online reservations for the Washington Plaza (NSNC’s $149 a night booking) may be arranged at the hotel’s special page for us.
If finalists cannot join the society for dinner, their win-place-show will be emailed to them after the dinner and also announced here at columnists.com. Rules and other details about the 2014 contest can be found at 2014 Column Contest Rules.
*Movie critic and blogger Roger Ebert died April 4, 2013. His last blog entry posted April 2 and last film review published April 6.